BOSTON (AP) — Montreal winger Max Pacioretty had a simple explanation for why the Canadiens have had so much success lately against the Boston Bruins.
They play just like them.
Carey Price made 33 saves, Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist, and Montreal beat the Bruins 2-0 on Saturday night.
The Canadiens improved to 9-1 in their last 10 regular-season games against the Bruins. That doesn’t include ousting them from last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I think we’re trying to play like them when they had success and have success,” Pacioretty said. “When they’re dominating teams, I think that’s the recipe everyone tried to model. I think more teams are trying to play like them, and that’s keeping things simple and grinding teams down.”
Andrei Markov added his 100th career goal for the Canadiens, who posted their eighth win in nine games.
Solid defense in front of Price and tight checking helped Montreal raise its mark to 3-0 against Boston this season.
“I put a lot of trust in guys around me to do their job and it simplifies my game,” said Price, who was tested with very few tough shots.
Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots, but feel to 3-12-3 in his career during the regular season against the Canadiens.
The Bruins were missing a number of key players: Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Brad Marchand are all out with injuries.
“It’s tough. We have a lot of guys that came up here,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “It’s a big game — Montreal on Saturday night.”
It was the 728th regular season meeting between the clubs, the first in Boston since Montreal upset the top-seeded Bruins in a seven-game series last spring in the Eastern Conference’s second round.
The Canadiens beat the Bruins 5-1 on Nov. 13. Since that loss, the Bruins had won three straight, allowing only four total goals.
“When you play a team that’s healthy and that’s going extremely well, it almost takes a perfect game,” said Boston coach Claude Julien, who was behind the bench for his 800th career game.
Montreal went up on Markov’s goal 11:37 into the first period.
Skating on a power play, Plekanec won a faceoff to Brendan Gallagher, who slipped a short pass to Markov. He fired a wrist shot that beat Rask on the stick side inside the post, giving the Canadiens their first road power-play goal this season after going 0 or 29.
Boston controlled play after the goal, outshooting Montreal 8-1, but the chances were relatively weak.
Montreal then made it 2-0 on Plekanec’s goal midway into the second when he scored at the end of a 3-on-2 break after the Bruins failed to get a shot off during an odd-man rush.
There were plenty of hard checks between the longtime rivals, the best coming when Bruins winger Daniel Paille sent Alexei Emelin into his own bench early in the second.
Chats of “Go Habs Go!” could be heard a few times from a fairly large gathering of red-jersey wearing Canadiens’ fans spread throughout TD Garden, but they were quickly silenced by “Let’s Go Bruins!”
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